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Ferrari Identifying How to Integrate Customers into LMH

Ferrari planning to integrate customers at races; will “evaluate” more LMH cars after ’23…

Photo: Ferrari

Ferrari is identifying ways of integrating customers into its LMH program, with the head of the company’s Competizione GT department stating that it will “evaluate” the possibility of producing more 499Ps in the future.

Speaking during the car’s launch at Imola last weekend, Alessandra Todeschini noted that Ferrari has received “a lot of interest” in the twin-turbo V6 hybrid prototype.

Ferrari has previously only referred to its two confirmed factory entries that will compete in next year’s FIA World Endurance Championship season, which includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

However, customer interest in the manufacturer’s first in-house sports prototype in 50 years is known to be high. Last month Giuseppe Risi, the owner of experienced American privateer Risi Competizione, said his team is “exploring” options to run the 499P.

Despite not being required to produce customer cars, Ferrari now appears open to considering entries outside the factory stable that would build on its extensive customer GT racing program covering the GTE, GT3 and Challenge platforms.

“Definitely it is two cars, [numbers] 50 and 51,” Todeschini said regarding the Ferrari 499Ps that will run in WEC next year.

“But it’s true that we have seen a lot of interest. We will take one year to evaluate if it’s the case to put some more cars on the grid.

She added: “We will say today though that this is not the correct year, because we’re still under development and we feel it’s too much to place outside of the factory team at this point.”

In the meantime, Ferrari plans to integrate customers into the works LMH program next year by launching a ‘paddock club’ experience offering behind-the-scenes access.

Todeschini explained that this will be a “round-by-round” initiative, following the Ferrari AF Corse squad at each of the seven stops on the WEC calendar and enabling customers to “feel a part of the event” from a factory team perspective.

“Customers are crucial for us, so we will find something for them,” she said.

“We are organizing a program for them. They will be able to follow our team at all rounds of the championship.

“They will enjoy first-class service at a paddock club, and they will stay with the team and encounter the drivers.

“We will take care of all the passionate Ferrari customers that want to attend those events, creating an exclusive habitat for them where they can follow all the races and they can stay with us.”

Ferrari’s sports car racing director Antonello Coletta explained that it is too early for the manufacturer to look at selling customer 499Ps, as it continues its testing program to prepare for the car’s homologation later this year and its race debut at Sebring in March.

When asked for the number of LMH inquiries from private organizations, Coletta said: “We have received a considerable number of requests from important teams.

“But at this moment, we prefer to concentrate on our official cars.

“We will see for the future. In this moment, we are not ready to sell the car to customer racing teams.”

Ferrari’s last factory-built sports prototype, the 312 PB, was only run by the official squad however its predecessor the 512 competed in customer hands with independent outfits such as Penske, Scuderia Filipinetti and North American Racing Team.

The last sports prototype to bear the Ferrari name was the Dallara-built 333 SP, which was exclusively operated by customer teams in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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